Ripley - Willey is ready for national service

David Willey has started the Natwest t20 Blast in fine form
David Willey has started the Natwest t20 Blast in fine form

Northamptonshire head coach David Ripley is in no doubt that David Willey is ready to make the jump up to international cricket.

The all-rounder has made a powerful start to the Natwest t20 Blast campaign and his match-winning innings of 95 in the two-wicket defeat of Leicestershire last week has fuelled talk of the selectors coming calling.

And while that is what tends to happen when there is an under-performing England side and an individual produces such a performance, Ripley believes that Willey’s time could be coming.

He said: “I think it’s a matter of which format he comes through in.

“Whether he could play like that against international opening bowlers and spank them around is another matter but he could certainly come in at the end of an innings and provide a strong finish.

“Add to that his left-arm variation with the bowling and the fact he’s an excellent fielder and you have a good all-round package.”

There was a similar clamour for national recognition after the final at Edgbaston last August but Ripley reckons his charge is a better player now than he was then.

He added: “He’s certainly learning a lot more about constructing an innings in this format.

“It’s hard to counter a bloke who can pump a length ball on to the roof of the indoor school and he’s now not just getting 30 and getting out.

“He’s been pretty consistent in all formats for a while and we know that he’s on England’s radar.

“If he keeps on playing like this then there is no reason why he can’t go further.”

Willey will get another chance to press his claims tomrrow (Friday) when the Steelbacks visit Worcester to face the Rapids.

With their game at Derby being abandoned without a ball being bowled, the Steelbacks will probably pick from the same squad.

Steelbacks from: Coetzer, Willey, Levi, Sales, Crook, Duckett, Spriegel, Azharullah, White, Keogh, Chambers, Butler, Middlebrook.